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Four Steps to Take When an Employee Is Diagnosed with COVID-19

As COVID-19 infection rates continue to climb, it’s imperative that organizations respond quickly when an employee is diagnosed. Here are the steps employers should take: Notify Employees Employees should be notified of potential exposure in the workplace, but they should not be told who is sick. Employees won’t like that they can’t gauge their own risk, but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires this type of information remain confidential. Don’t worry if employees figure it out on their own, but make sure you’re not the one to reveal the information (and don’t drop sneaky hints to help them along). Assess the Risk of Exposure and Quarantine If AdvisableI

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Leading During a Pandemic

No one knows what the workplace is going to look like in three months. COVID-19 continues to spread. School reopening and attendance plans remain tenuous. Further action from Congress is uncertain. Official rules from the Department of Labor might even be struck down in court, further adding to the confusion about what employers are supposed to be doing.  Leading an organization right now can feel like driving to a destination you’re not sure exists on a road that’s changing right before you.  In this situation, we need to accept that the typical ways of leading a team may not prove successful. The simple question of what success looks like right now isn’t easy to answ

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6 Tips to Help You Manage Stress in the Workplace

We’re all supposed to feel stress from time to time. It’s the way the body responds to demands and dangers. A stressful event triggers the release of hormones. These hormones, according to Psychology Today, “increase heartbeat and the circulation of blood to support quick action, mobilize fat and sugar for immediate energy, focus attention to track the danger, prepare muscles for movement, and more.” This fight-or-flight response helps us overcome these challenges. It can save our life before we realize we’re in danger.  We are not, however, supposed to feel stress all or most of the time. Stress, particularly the regular or chronic variety, can le

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Making the Workplace a Safe Place to Speak Up

Right now, organizations across the country are asking themselves what they can do to make their workplaces more inclusive, diverse, and equitable, particularly for Black employees. They’re hosting conversations, acknowledging areas where they’ve fallen short, and identifying opportunities for improvement.  For these efforts to be successful, employees need to be able to speak freely, offering critical and candid feedback about individual behaviors, workplace practices, and organizational policies. None of this can happen, however, if people believe it isn’t safe for them to speak up.  It often isn’t. Employees who report harassment and discrimination, speak candi

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What should I do if my employee discloses that their family member or roommate has COVID-19?

HR Topics Question

Employees who have come within six feet of someone who is infected should self-quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During this time, they should take their temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Currently, the known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath.  Because COVID-19 is widespread in so many communities, the CDC recommends that everyone practice social distancing, be alert for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow CDC guidanceif symptoms develop.  Remember to maintain the confidentiality o

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Key Definitions to Help You Understand the ADA

If you hadn’t engaged with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before the pandemic, you probably have by now. The ADA comes up a lot these days, both with respect to confidentiality of medical information (like employee temperatures) as well as with reasonable accommodation for those who are at high risk for a serious case of COVID-19. In this article we’ll tackle some of the key terms in the ADA that every employer should be comfortable with. First, though, let’s cover the basics. The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against applicants and employees with disabilities and requires that employers provide them with reasonable accommodations under certain cir

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Join TPC to Support the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association’s Heart Walk has had a change of plans but not a change of "Heart". Due to the current pandemic, the walk has become a “walk where you are” event. The individual teams that were registered for the walk are now walking on their own, but still for the same cause! Our very own, Carrie Falk, Senior Account Manager at TPC, is on the Executive Leadership Team of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2020 Madison Heart Walk. In that role she works with the AHA Executive Director, Carrie Nevins, to engage top companies and leaders to join in the American Heart Association’s mission. The Madison Heart Walk is an annual event that consists of a walk and 5K

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FFCRA Leave – Significant Rule Changes

A federal court in New York recently struck down four federal Department of Labor (DOL) rules related to the leaves provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a result, certain aspects of the FFCRA are now more favorable to employees. Unfortunately, it’s not clear if the ruling applies nationwide or only in the Southern District of New York, where that court is located. Until there is further activity in the case—which may clarify whether the rules remain intact throughout the rest of the country—we recommend that employers err on the side of caution when administering FFCRA leaves and assume these particular rules no longer apply.  What is clear is th

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Supreme Court Rules in Favor of LGBTQ Employment Protections

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that employers may not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment. This decision affects all employers with 15 or more employees. The decision was a response to three separate cases, all of which were about employment discrimination based on “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. There has been debate for years about the definition of sex under Title VII. Originally, many assumed that it meant only that men and women could not be treated differently, but over the years the Supreme Court has interpreted the definition to include cert

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We are reopening after business closure due to COVID-19. Can we bring some employees back, but not others?

HR Topics Question

Yes. If you are recalling some positions, but not others, you should document the business reasons why only those positions were recalled. If you are recalling some employees in a certain position, but not everyone in that position, you should document the objective, job-related criteria you used to decide which employees to bring back. Seniority or previous job performance, for example, would be acceptable criteria and relatively easy to defend if you are ever challenged. Content provided by TPC HR Support Center.

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